#AFK: Last Month’s Edition

I’ve been so #AFK (away from keyboard) that I haven’t had a chance to blog… So, here’s a recap of the last few weeks.

  • Where I’m at: Mexico City
  • What’s next: Whistler, Canada for Automattic company-wide meet-up
  • What I’ve been doing: (hence the long #AFK)
    • Montreal: The three amigos (e.g., mom, dad, me) turned into foodies for a week, which shows significant palate growth over the last decade, all previously victims of the can food revolution (e.g., lots of this) and the low fat diet of the 90s (specifically me, diving deep into rice cakes, Yoplait and yes, spray butter… all in failed attempts to look like this or maybe this). We’ve hit milestones before at home – Laganitas IPAs in the fridge, charcuterie plates on the patio before eating something off the grill – but this was a true upleveling!
    • Vermont: I partook in the monoculture (e.g., bikes, third wave coffee, IPAs and lots of sarcasm) of my WordPress VIP growth team by spending a week with them in an Airbnb in Stowe. We went to Ben & Jerry’s, where I made a major ordering mistake that led to envious stares (note: don’t order what you can get at the bodega across the street). I also won at Cards Against Humanity, boom (is that something to be proud of?)
    • Maui: My very good friend Linda got married to Blake, who I also adore (#lindamauisblake – get it?), and it was all the right things – a lovely relationship to be celebrated, great people, beautiful setting, fantastic food and music (like this, Australia’s equivalent to Bon Jovi?). At the end, Blake ordered a round of fireball shots (“fireball shots bitches”) to which we found him in the toilet an hour later. I say, that’s a sign of a good night.
    • San Francisco: I made two pitstops in San Francisco (thanks Jess!) and had a great time reconnecting with good friends. Despite my issues with living there (I’ll save that for another day), I really do enjoy visiting 🙂 Until next time…
    • Finish(ing) up the Book: Debbie and I have (almost) finished our book. Even if only my mother reads it, I’ve learned a lot – about writing, about writing with another person, about grit –  and it’s exhilarating, in some ways, to feel like I can learn a new skill, quickly, in my thirties. It’s probably one of the hardest thing I’ve attempted to do, more so than the app or anything at work (except maybe joining Oliver Wyman, a quant-heavy consulting firm, without ever having opened Excel or SQL… but, alas, I learned).
  • Things I’ve been reading / watching / listening to:
    • My Kindle is filled with partially read books, trying to absorb techniques for my own writing. I did, however, finish Eric Fromm’s The Art of Loving, which was chocked-full of insights on love and romance (I plan on using in a new writing project – a speculative twist on modern romance). A few highlights:
      • “Modern man is actually close to the picture Huxley describes in his Brave New World: well fed, well clad, satisfied sexually, yet without self, without any except the most superficial contact with his fellow men, guided by the slogans which Huxley formulated so succinctly, such as: “When the individual feels, the community reels”; or “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today,” or, as the crowning statement: “Everybody is happy nowadays.””
      • “The illusion, namely, that love means necessarily the absence of conflict. Just as it is customary for people to believe that pain and sadness should be avoided under all circumstances, they believe that love means the absence of any conflict. […] Real conflicts between two people, those which do not serve to cover up or to project, but which are experienced on the deep level of inner reality to which they belong, are not destructive. They lead to clarification, they produce a catharsis from which both persons emerge with more knowledge and more strength.”
      • “Modern man thinks he loses something—time—when he does not do things quickly; yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains—except kill it.”
      • “If one is concentrated, it matters little what one is doing; the important, as well as the unimportant things assume a new dimension of reality, because they have one’s full attention. To learn concentration requires avoiding, as far as possible, trivial conversation, that is, conversation which is not genuine. If two people talk about the growth of a tree they both know, or about the taste of the bread they have just eaten together, or about a common experience in their job, such conversation can be relevant, provided they experience what they are talking about, and do not deal with it in an abstractified way; on the other hand, a conversation can deal with matters of politics or religion and yet be trivial; this happens when the two people talk in clichés, when their hearts are not in what they are saying.”
      • “To be fully awake is the condition for not being bored, or being boring—and indeed, not to be bored or boring is one of the main conditions for loving. To be active in thought, feeling, with one’s eyes and ears, throughout the day, to avoid inner laziness, be it in the form of being receptive, hoarding, or plain wasting one’s time, is an indispensable condition for the practice of the art of loving.”
  • Quotes I’ve been underlining: (I read Zorba the Greek ages ago, but was reminded of the book this summer)
    • “I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” – Zorba the Greek
    • “This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.” – Zorba the Greek
    • “True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Thoughts I’ve been thinking:
    • Mexican food is so good!
    • How many of our actions are derived from outdated versions of ourselves (e.g., how I was when I was 18, or 25, not 33)? 
  • What I’ve been seeing:

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